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When it comes to investing, don’t let taxes wag the dog. Everyone wants the best way to save on taxes, but to consolidate assets with a “do-everything” outfit is simply that: a way for them to gather your assets and charge fees.

But that’s the direction the industry is heading, and the shot across the bow was Vanguard’s change of guard with its new CEO, a former BlackRock exec. (You can read about that here and here).

The tectonic shift at Vanguard and at other asset managers is a scramble to add revenue streams from you. This is not what founder Jack Bogle had in mind when he offered a low-fee index approach at Vanguard. It’s not what Dick Young had in mind either when he recommended Vanguard to tens of thousands of readers each month in his Intelligence Report newsletter. Bogle told Dick that the Intelligence Report did more to bring clients to Vanguard than any other newsletter.

But times change, and the low-cost index fund has turned into a commodity where the likes of Vanguard, BlackRock, State Street, and Fidelity offer them at zero cost. The race to the bottom is nothing new in this industry. Remember the high-cost stock commissions of yesteryear? They’re gone. The same has happened with fees on index funds/ETFs.

The replacement by the big dogs has been to bundle them into “target date” maturity funds stuffed into 401(k)s or buying index funds in brokerage accounts as a bundled group (essentially a custom target date) and charging fees.

It’s like going grocery shopping—one-stop investing for your entire financial life, including taxes/estate planning—with the personal attention equivalence of a reward card.

There’s no relationship. There’s no customization or personal attention. The meat department doesn’t care about what’s in produce. Your money is handled by little fiefdoms run by the “C” suite sitting in air-conditioned offices above the shop.

Your personal attention comes from the checkout guy, who is more concerned about getting off work and punching in your phone or loyalty number. And you thought food inflation was high, wait til you see the fees—somewhere in that mile-long receipt.

Action Line: This is a relationship business. It’s between you and your advisor. Don’t be lulled to sleep thinking you’re getting the best of both worlds using a one-stop shop or Big Box Advisor for tax, estate, and investment advice. There’s a reason they can pay for the ads you see on TV.

You’re retired or soon to be. You don’t want to work anymore, but believe me, it’s a job keeping track of everyone inside the store. You’re better than that. You’re not a commodity. Talk to someone who knows you by name, not your customer loyalty number. Better yet, work with someone who knows what you’re celebrating when he sees the party favors in your cart. When you want to talk about real relationships, I’m here. In the meantime, click here to subscribe to my free monthly Survive & Thrive letter.

Originally posted on Your Survival Guy.